Live Stream: Governor David Ige’s COVID-19 Update, May 5, 2020
- Governor David Ige provides a COVID-19 update. He is joined today by: David Lassner, President, University of Hawai‘i who will discuss UH plans for the future; and Dr. Bruce Anderson, Director, Hawai‘i Dept. of Health who will discuss the latest COVID-19 numbers.
Governor Ige Expresses Condolences for Family & Friends of 17th Victim
Calling it “another reminder of how deadly this disease is, and the way that COVID-19 continues to hurt our community,” Governor Ige expressed his deepest condolences to the family and friends of the latest Hawai‘i resident to fall victim to coronavirus. He said, “Nevertheless, things are getting better every day. The numbers continue to look very good. With only one new case announced today, we are confident that we have flattened the curve.” The governor indicated that testing capacity remains strong and hospital capacities are very manageable. This means, the governor said, “With these kinds of numbers we are looking to further ease restrictions and will continue our phased approach to re-opening our local economy.”
Continued Social Distancing, Sanitation & Safety Guidelines
Governor Ige said with some non-essential businesses reopening (florists, certain real estate service, car dealership, automated and mobile service providers, golf courses, and services provided on a one-on-one basis), everyone must remain vigilant. He thanked those who have started patronizing these businesses and reminded the public to comply with safety guidelines outlined in his emergency proclamation, as a second wave of COVID-19 cases “could mean some mandates may have to be reinstated.”
Characterizing the US Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP) as a critical lifeline for Hawai‘i’s small businesses, the governor said SBA is taking applications for a second round of forgivable loans. 11,500 companies and organizations have already received $2 billion from the program. Second round applications began last week and as of May 1, more than 7,700 additional small businesses in Hawai‘i have been approved for more than $400 million in forgivable loans.
Also today, Carl Bonham, Executive Director of University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO), said a recent scenario for Hawaiʻi’s economic recovery includes a gradual reopening of the local economy, regaining 35% to 45% as Governor David Ige’s stay-at-home order is lifted. By the end of the year as much as 75% of the local economy could be regained, according to Bonham.
UH Preparing for Return to Campuses this Fall
At the governor’s news briefing today UH President Dr. David Lassner announced the university plans to resume in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester on all 10 campuses. UH will deploy a COVID-19-aware approach to providing a safe, high-quality education for new and returning students, faculty and support staff as the semester begins as scheduled on Monday, August 24. “We all realize that the fall will absolutely not be a return to business as usual,” said Lassner in a message to the 10 campuses. “There is still great uncertainty but plans for the state are now taking shape and we have ourselves learned much over the last two months. Now, more than ever, the people of Hawaiʻi need the opportunity to affordably engage in higher education to advance their careers and their lives.” While planning for a modified on-campus education, UH is also preparing for a significant COVID-19 outbreak that may require one or more campuses to return to the online delivery of all courses. These plans are being informed by the abrupt transition to online instruction in spring 2020 experienced at UH and throughout the country.
One New COVID-19 Case Reported
The single case of coronavirus being reported by DOH is a Hawai‘i island adult, bringing the total positive case count in Hawai‘i to 621. 558 of the cases are among Hawai‘i residents, 57 are non-residents and six have unknown residency at this time.
DOH Highlights Importance of Children’s Mental Health Services
May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DOH and the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Planning Group are highlighting the importance of mental health services for children, youth, young adults, and their families. There will be a series of special events to build awareness for the need of these types of services. Activities this year follow the theme “Bringing Children’s Mental Health into Focus – Perfect Vision in 20/20.” Dr. Scott Shimabukuro, acting administrator for DOH Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division, said “Now more than ever, we recognize the importance of ensuring access to mental health services for our keiki. As a result of COVID-19, the youth and families of Hawai‘i are having to adapt to unprecedented social distancing measures, and many are struggling to cope with this new way of living. We want to remind families that our keiki’s mental wellness is as important as physical wellness, and to use the community resources that are available.”
Airports Seeing Upticks in Visitors
Over the weekend Hawai‘i’s airports saw more visitors arriving. On Friday visitor arrivals outstripped returning residents, 223 to 187. On Saturday, 315 residents returned to the state, along with 118 visitors. On Sunday a total of 759 people arrived in Hawai‘i, including 228 visitors and 268 residents. Visitors are people who do not have a Hawai‘i ID including essential health care workers, essential federal workers, former residents such as mainland college students coming to stay with family, military on temporary assignment, and leisure travelers.
Pacific Princess Cruise Ship Returns to Honolulu for Fuel and Provisions
HDOT reports the Pacific Princess cruise ship is scheduled to arrive at Honolulu Harbor tomorrow at 7 a.m. and depart at approximately 2 p.m. There are no passengers on the ship and no crew members will disembark in Honolulu. The ship stopped in Honolulu on April 13 to allow four O‘ahu residents to return home and complete their quarantines. Since then, the ship made stops in Los Angeles and Ensenada, Mexico. The ship is returning to Honolulu for fuel and provisions on its way to the Philippines where it will repatriate its crew. The ship’s leadership reports there are no health concerns, influenza like illness or respiratory issues with anyone on the ship. Cruise lines worldwide have extended their suspension of operations due to COVID-19.
Citations/Warnings Issued for Emergency Rules Violations
DOCARE is also reporting the numbers of citations and warnings issued for violations of emergency rules and orders and violations of DLNR Division of State Parks closed area rules. During the week of April 24-May 1, 2020 officers wrote 57 citations. Most were for the emergency orders and closed area violations, but there were also citations for violations of Kaho‘olawe unauthorized vessel rules, controlled substance violations and promotion of a detrimental drug. They issued 122 warnings; the majority of them for emergency rules violations or for entering a closed State Park.
Hawai‘i Island Man Arrested for Violation of Emergency Rules
35-year-old Jason Fujioka of Kea‘au was arrested on Saturday by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement after a private company reported the theft of its 50-foot-long vessel Noa Noa. The boat was reported stolen from Kailua Bay at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. It was located traveling in the ocean in the vicinity of the Kona Airport. The vessel’s owner assisted by another private vessel were able to stop the Noa Noa. They detained the suspect and transited to Honokōhau State Small Boat Harbor where they were met by DOCARE officers. Fujioka was arrested and taken to the Kona Police Station for booking and processing. He’s being held pending setting of bail at $8,000. He faces charges of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree theft and violation of state emergency rules and orders.